Frankfurt, 14 November 2023 – 175 guests from Düsseldorf and the surrounding region attended the DOSB’s final dialog forum at the Merkur Spiel-Arena. Burkhard Hintzsche, Düsseldorf’s City Director, officially welcomed the guests. He emphasized: “Düsseldorf and major sports events – they go hand in hand. D.LIVE and D.SPORTS have proven time and again in the past that the sports facilities that are available in our city are both modern and versatile and that we are capable of organizing sports events that inspire and engage athletes and spectators alike. Düsseldorf and the Rhine-Ruhr region are ideally positioned for a prospective Olympic bid.”
The City of Düsseldorf and the State Sports Association Signal Their Support
Representatives from the worlds of sports and politics discussed the opportunities and conditions associated with an Olympic bid for North Rhine-Westphalia during the subsequent panel discussion. Dr. Stephan Keller, Mayor of Düsseldorf, the state capital, can easily imagine the Olympics being staged in Düsseldorf: “We have shown, not least through the hosting of the 2023 Rhine-Ruhr Finals and the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023, that the state capital is the perfect location for major sports events. Enthusiasm for these events was immense, and we received support from all over the world. That is why I am more than happy to support a prospective Olympic bid. The Games should be sustainable and their organization should be participatory. Dialog with citizens is extremely important, and the DOSB Dialog Forum at the Merkur Spiel-Arena was a good start.” Dr. Christoph Niessen, Chairman of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Sports Association, added: “Hosting major sports events is the responsibility of organized sport. As such, our support for the DOSB’s initiative goes without saying.” Jens-Peter Nettekoven, DOSB Vice President, took a seat on the podium alongside sabre fencer Leá Krüger and para-table tennis player Sandra Mikolaschek. “We have gotten off to a good start today – the goal is the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We have to move Germany further along this path,” said the DOSB Vice President. From the athletes’ point of view, the Olympic and Paralympic Games are often the only opportunities they have to present themselves to the public. “For some of us, the Games are the only chance we have to perform on such a stage,” explained Leá Krüger. “I hope that hosting the Games in Germany will attract new members to my club, that more spectators will tune in, and that there will be more involvement in para-sports,” added Sandra Mikolaschek.
Demand for the Integration of Recreational Sports and the Expansion of Public Transport
Throughout the evening, the residents had the opportunity to take part in moderated discussion rounds, during which they could share their specific ideas, criticisms, and reservations. The visitors noted that a prospective application would have to include concrete concepts for the expansion of local public transport and exercise programs for children and adults.
The official program also featured presentations by Carla Wuhrer (Proprojekt) and Stephan Brause (DOSB). Carla Wuhrer presented the IOC’s reform processes and the resulting opportunities to design and stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a more sustainable and cost-effective way. Stephan Brause, Head of the DOSB’s Olympic Bid Office, walked the attendees through the DOSB’s new strategy and presented the conditions that would be attached to a prospective bid.
How the Results are Summarized
The dialog forum in Düsseldorf brought the series to a close this year. The results of the various dialog formats will now be bundled in the Frankfurt Declaration and will serve as the societal guidelines for a prospective Olympic bid. The Frankfurt Declaration will be presented at the DOSB General Assembly on 2 December 2023.
The highlights of the dialog forum can be found here.